The Best Sandwich Shops In Seattle

These 20 spots prove that Seattle is very much a sandwich town.
Tuna salad sandwich stuffed with arugula and chips.

photo credit: Brooke Fitts

Do we think that whoever discovered bread around 6000 BC had any freaking idea what we would be doing with it thousands of years later? Probably not. But thank goodness they left their flour paste out in the sun a little too long so that corner store reubens, West Coast cheesesteaks, and walk-up window bánh mì could all be a part of Seattle history. 

Looking for breakfast sandwiches in particular? We have a guide for that, too.

Looking for the best sandwiches to eat on a boat? Oddly enough, we also have a guide for that.


photo credit: Nate Watters



$$$$Perfect For:Cheap EatsLunchSerious Take-Out Operation
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In the Paseo vs Un Bien debate, we are team Un Bien all the way. In fact, we’d argue that this little walk-up window in Ballard makes some of the best sandwiches in America—and not just because we have a strong affinity for onions. The shining star is their Caribbean Roast, with pulled pork that’s been slow-cooked with the greatest marinade in all the land, and topped with sweet grilled onions, spice-flecked aioli, crunchy romaine, cilantro, and pickled jalapeño on a toasty Macrina baguette. If pork’s not your thing, you can count on the juicy char-marked chicken breast sandwich.

If we lived in an alternate universe where subs were the only food left on earth, we’d probably choose to eat at Tubs for every meal. At their new Bothell location (they moved from Lake City), you’ll find 36 different types of sandwiches on anatomically perfect baguettes, with fillings ranging from an excellent cross between a Philly-style cheesesteak and a french dip to the Chicken Amiga, a toasty sliced chicken sandwich with cheddar, bacon, a shake of barbecue spice that you'd typically find on potato chips, Tapatio, and a cup of outrageously delicious ranch for dunking. It's a masterpiece. Anything involving this ranch or their mildly garlicky aioli is going to be phenomenal.

photo credit: Brooke Fitts

There are two main reasons to head to Green Lake: making good on a goal to walk more, and grabbing a great sandwich at Layers. This sun-filled counter serves between-bread beauties that are totally worth the chaotic line and upscale price tag. The menu is full of hits like the Notorious P.I.G, with delicate pork belly slabs and a sticky fresno pepper jelly, or their Captain Rick, loaded with herby tuna salad and a handful of BBQ-flavored potato chips that add smoke and crunch. While you’re here, be sure to secure a slice of grilled banana bread, too.

Want the best bánh mì in town? Easy. For that, go to Yeh Yeh’s in Lynnwood. While we’d jump over a series of fences Hot Fuzz-style for their grilled pork sandwich (where charred meat bits and salty marinade melt into the mayo-soaked bread) or the tender braised pork with pate, you also shouldn’t miss the flash-fried tofu bánh mì that’s topped with a sweet and creamy dressing, crisp lettuce, and cracked black pepper. Really, you’re in good shape with any rubber-banded-baguette they place in your hands here. And while you’re at it, grab a stiff Vietnamese iced coffee or a side of vegetable spring rolls, too.

This Vietnamese cafe in Georgetown doesn’t serve too many types of bánh mì, but the ones on their menu are worth a midday trip. The best baguette-swaddled beauty here is their lemongrass pork sausage patty—it’s garlicky and juicy with charred edges that peek out the sides of the crusty baguette. Along with a slick coating of mayo, tangy pickled vegetables, and a shake of black pepper, they also throw on sprigs of mint—it’s a genius addition in particular that gives the sandwich a fresh pop you might appreciate if you’re part of the soapy cilantro collective.

From scrambled egg and fresh mozzarella to prosciutto and mascarpone, we appreciate the variety of filling options that this Downtown shop offers. And yet, we always order the same thing, every time: the teriyaki meatball bánh mì, a.k.a their finest contribution to the planet. The combination of fresh vs. preserved ingredients sets the bar for handheld lunches to come, and a fully-composed bite is phenomenal, down to every bit of baguette soaked in spicy mayo and sweet soy. A close second is the salami pesto sandwich, with the combination of pepperoni heat, wine-cured salami, and fragrant pesto-spiked aioli swirls.

Fishermen’s is a deli right on the Salmon Bay Marina where you can look at yachts while inhaling a sandwich. Stick to the ones they smash on a panini press, like the Corleone, with a bunch of cold cuts, chopped cherry peppers, and dijonnaise, along with melty smoked gouda layered in between like Elmer’s glue. Or, do your boat-watching with the king salmon melt—a glorious hot sandwich that involves flaky mashed pink fish between slices of wheat bread with cheddar, dijonnaise, and pickles. The sauce, salmon, and pickle juices combine to make a creamy salad-like spread, and the entire thing is one of the very few examples where seafood and cheese can not only work together but thrive together.

Deception Pass isn’t the only reason to plan a Whidbey day. Do it for the Italian cold cut-stuffed semolina roll, too. And despite being situated on a snoozy island road where Wes Anderson would get some ideas, the sandwiches at this quirky market are well worth the rigamarole. Call to order in advance when you’re in line for the ferry—or prepare to wait an hour for a (phenomenal) caprese.

photo credit: Nate Watters

This Ballard spot puts spins on classic sandwiches, and they're plot twists that we don't see coming from a mile away. There’s a bacon club, only it features steak tartare. You’ll find falafel, but in giant patty form topped with harissa beets and smashed on a challah bun. And their take on corned beef is particularly outstanding—it involves thick meaty slabs, tangy pickled cabbage, and practically an entire bushel of fresh mint.

Let’s say you were in a terrible mood somewhere on the East Coast. You might end up eating a pastrami sandwich, or a cheesesteak, or literally anything covered in buffalo sauce. Head to Tat’s instead—it takes less time to get there. This is a dive with subs, wings, fries, and a lot of Pennsylvania-based sports team flags on the walls. Go for a cheesesteak with hot peppers or the Tatstrami sandwich, loaded with pastrami, creamy coleslaw, melted swiss, and russian dressing on a hoagie roll.

Other Coast Cafe is a counter in Ballard that serves the kind of meat, cheese, and sauce combinations that college students doing all-nighters might fantasize about. Like the Electric Wizard, a smoky-sweet situation with ham, smoked mozzarella, and balsamic mayo, or the iconic Rajun Cajun piled with spicy salsa mayo-drenched turkey and pepper jack. They also happen to serve one of the greatest vegan sandwiches in town—the Michael King, stuffed with roasted yams and juicy dry-rubbed tofu.

Sometimes, sandwich shops are cursed with a quantity-over-quality fate. Valhalla in Greenwood specializes in both. These gargantuan creations on sturdy telera rolls are excessive in a good way, with combinations like blackened shrimp with chorizo and chipotle mayo, chicken with sweet-hot mustard and apple slaw, or Thanksgiving-inspired turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and an earthy rosemary aioli (our favorite). Whatever you do, don't forget to add on some tater tots to dunk into sides of chipotle mayo.

This Shoreline spot serves a stellar example of a classic Cubano. They’re also just terrific pressed sandwiches in general, with ham, roasted pork, molten swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and pickles squished on Cuban bread flown in from La Segunda Bakery in Florida. It's everything a Cuban sandwich should be: gooey, porky, tangy, and crusty. And if you're swinging by with a friend, grab a Tampa-style Cubano too—the thin layer of genoa salami gives the whole thing some tasty funk.

This little Ballard market has the tell-tale signs of a great neighborhood store: Moon Pies, a wide variety of fruit sodas, and a short but sweet menu of sandwiches you should pay close attention to. Like their reuben, which features creamy coleslaw instead of kraut, tender chopped corned beef, and swiss that becomes crispy on contact with the griddle. The spicy sriracha chicken melt is also great, with a luxurious amount of avocado and spicy aioli that truly has a kick (for once). But their crown jewel is the chicken caesar wrap that we’ll keep coming back for—it’s got bacon, tomatoes, and crouton bits that taste way better than salad inside a tortilla. Plus, there are a few tiny tables where you can eat so your car doesn't become a disaster zone of crumbs and meat flecks.

This counter on the border of Mt. Baker and Beacon Hill has been providing Seattle with excellent cheesesteaks since 1995. And while you can certainly order a classic with thinly sliced beef on a blanket of white american, order the deluxe sandwich. It still has all of the seasoning salt-dusted beef and melty cheese with mushrooms, hot peppers, and onions, but they also add in tomatoes and lettuce for brightness and crunch.

Let’s say you spend an excessive amount of time daydreaming about Italian sandwiches. Same. In that case, Post Alley Pizza should be your first choice. This pizzeria bakes homemade sesame-studded hoagie rolls and stuffs them with finocchiona salami, spicy coppa, ham, provolone, red onion shavings, and a tart chicory slaw. The crackly bread soaks up the liquid while still remaining dry on the outside, made even better with a side of “hoagie jazz” (a garlicky, melty anchovy spread with calabrian chiles).

If you're looking for a sandwich filled with things that come from the ocean, Local Tide in Fremont is a great one-stop shop. Their lineup includes a weekend-only crab roll accented with lemony mayo and chives, a spicy little sourdough number with seared albacore and fresno chiles, or a McDonald’s-style Filet-O-Fish copycat made with panko-coated dover sole, and it all proves that phenomenal Seattle seafood doesn’t have to involve salmon or chowder.

Just like gasoline and the McDonald's dollar menu, sandwiches fall victim to inflation, too. Though, even with a price bump every now and then, Saigon Deli in the ID still sells one of the best (and cheapest) bánh mì in Seattle at $5.75. For a grilled pork sandwich on fresh crusty bread with a generous spread of bơ and heavy sprinkling of coarsely cracked black pepper, it’s consistently delicious—no matter the economic turbulence.

The goodness of Madison Kitchen’s BLATT is in its simplicity. Tender and smoked turkey grooves with thick bacon for crunch, and gets along with avocado, fresh tomato, greens, and a perfect basil aioli that is neither too herby nor mayo-laden. Laid inside a squishy but structurally sound Macrina potato bun, it’s on the lighter side, and tastes extremely satisfying with a fistful of kettle chips. Whenever you need a cold turkey sandwich by the water, head to Madison Kitchen immediately.

The hot grinders at this Fremont spot are thick, toasted to order, and prove to be very comforting on a gloomier day when there’s a chill in the wind. We’d honestly just be happy chomping on their herb oil-brushed french bread slathered in zesty grinder sauce (otherwise known as an Italian-seasoned ranch). But their wide variety of sandwich fillings—like roast beef and mesquite chicken breast or baked black pepper tofu with sesame dressing—makes it a great stop for both carnivores and vegetarians.

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Suggested Reading

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The Seattle Boat Sandwich Guide

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